Sunday, March 1, 2020

THE MAPLE CREST A long and varied history.

This sprawling three-story structure is located about two miles southwest of East Parsonsfield Village at a sharp bend in Maple Crest Road.  It was built as a summer hotel in 1887 and could accommodate about 35 people.  A. C. Varney was proprietor.  It later continued as a summer hotel under the name of Forest Lake House with Charles C. Varney as proprietor.  

In about 1912 the complex was purchased by Dr. Francis J. Welch, a young specialist in tuberculosis and respiratory diseases and operated as a private sanitarium called “Maple Crest Sanatorium”.  

The property consisted of the main house with spacious covered piazzas, annex and a cottage.  The buildings were steam heated and bathrooms and plumbing facilities assured proper sanitation.  They boasted of excellent natural spring water and fresh food from the region.  Each patient received careful individual attention and their treatment was governed according to their needs. A congenial atmosphere and an absence of institutionalism was noted.  There was a house doctor available, graduate nurses constantly in attendance and private nurses could be obtained if requested. 
Spacious covered sleeping porches permitted the
 patients to sleep out-of-doors while
remaining protected from the weather.

After World War I, Dr. Welch contracted with the Veterans Administration to treat veterans with lung diseases.  He resumed his private operation in the 1930’s under the name of “The Rest Land Sanitarium” and owned the property until the late 1950’s when he died.  

Subsequently this property was used as a sportsmen’s lodge - the “Randall Mountain Lodge - then about 1974 & 1975 was operated as a restaurant by Edward Stowe, a chef from Connecticut. 

In 1975 it was purchased by "Elan One Corp." as the organization's fifth treatment center for teenagers with various types of behavioral problems.  They accommodated 60-80 teenagers and a staff of 26.  It was not welcomed by the local residents but continued to operate here until mid-1981.  Elan drastically changed the fa├žade and added the box-like structure to the front.  It became dilapidated while it remained empty until about 2008.

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